In 2013, Forbes named Ireland the "Best Country for Business." Deciding factors included a low tax burden, investor protection and personal freedom, and as indicated by recent investment, it is clear that the global tech industry has taken note of the benefits of operating out of Ireland.
Microsoft is a company that has long understood the advantages of operating from Ireland. Having first established an Irish presence in 1985, the company recently began construction on a 35,000 sq m, €380 million ($527.7 million) data center in the Clondalkin area of South West Dublin.
The new facility will add an extra one hundred and fifty full time staff members to Microsoft’s already strong workforce of over one thousand. Bill Gates has noted the quality of the Irish workforce, and the attractiveness of Ireland as a place to live, as key factors in the decision to expand their Irish base.
In addition to the economic benefits of the Irish market, many tech companies (including Amazon and recently Google) have chosen Ireland as a location for data centers as the cool Irish climate has been proven to reduce air-conditioning costs. In the case of the Microsoft facility, their savings could total €17 million ($23.6 million) per year.
An area of Dublin that has seen a particular influx of tech companies is the Grand Canal Dock area, located in the southern part of the inner city. With the European headquarters for Google, Facebook and Twitter all within a short distance of each other, the area has firmly established itself as one of huge importance in the global tech arena.
Google and Facebook have both recently committed their investment in the city by acquiring thousands of square footage of extra office space in the docklands.
Currently, the largest Facebook operation outside of California is located in Hanover Quay in Grand Canal Dock, and with the lease due to end next year, the company has already invested in a new 120,000 square foot office located in Grand Canal Square. The new office has the capacity for one thousand employees, allowing the company to double its current local workforce. World-renowned architect Frank Gehry, who also designed Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters, will design the interior of the new office space.
The ability to acquire staff from other established, global tech companies in the Dublin area also provides a certain appeal to growing start up tech companies looking to expand. Many of those in the Dublin workforce already have experience with successful tech companies, providing an added incentive for companies seeking a location for their European headquarters.
Is there anywhere else in Europe that competes with Dublin as the "European Silicon Valley?"
Credits: Images by Rebecca Mullen. Data linked to sources.